Radio-microphone-440x360It was recently interviewed on Shoreditch radio by a good friend, Edward Nelson, about my journey into the personal growth world and, more specifically, what it has taught me about living a purpose centred life.

I was honoured to have been asked to be a guest and it was an experience that I enjoyed immensely. This was my first radio interview and I was a little nervous, but delighted to get to talk about my story and the impact it has had on my life and work.

So this edition of Life Happens LIVE is a departure from the normal format. It is simply a conversation in which you will learn:

  • What diamonds, horse manure and nail polish have to do with the way we experience life
  • Why your inner wisdom is like a faint flute playing against the din of a big brass band
  • How to cultivate a space for listening to your authentic self
  • Why you are already an enlightened being
  • Why it took a personal crisis for me to embark on my own journey of self discovery

I would love to hear your comments, questions and feedback on the interview. If any of the topics we covered resonate with you, please drop a line in the comments section below.

In a world where the rate of technological advancement and scientific discovery is speeding up, it seems that our threshold for being amazed is getting higher and higher.

“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.”  ~ Mary Oliver

Wonder of flightIf you could go back in time to 1990 and tell your younger self that in less than 20 years you’ll have this really cool thing called the internet on your mobile phone, which itself will be a fraction of the size of the brick you currently lug around (if you even have one), the younger you would no doubt be amazed.

As I write this post I am sat in a Starbucks enjoying a cappuccino that I paid for using my phone. And later, probably before I leave, I’ll have emailed these words to scores of people dotted about on every continent. I think that’s pretty cool. I could not have imagined it as a possibility 10 years ago. I’d barely even heard of Google back then.

We’re all used to this kind of way of life now. But does that make it any less amazing?

I’ve just returned from a short consulting trip to Dubai, which I thought was an amazing place because of its scale and opulence. Even on the flights there and back I was amazed at the availability of WIFI and 3G access throughout. I was amazed at how the colossal A380 I was travelling on could take off, stay up and land with such elegance and control.

I don’t know about you but I LOVE being amazed.

In the personal development world we talk a lot about the importance of gratitude in living happy and fulfilling lives. It seems to me that the state of being truly grateful comes more naturally to us when it is preceded with a sense of amazement and wonder. It’s pretty hard for us to be positively amazed by something and not to, at some level, be thankful that we are around to be a part of what’s happening.

But we don’t have to wait to be dazzled. We don’t have wait to be presented with something groundbreaking and revolutionary before exercising our wonder muscles. If we are just willing to consciously lower our ‘amazement threshold’ and notice the incredible nature of everything that surrounds us moment by moment, we can all be reconnected to our innate childlike wonder.

For instance, the next time you get yourself a glass of water, take a moment to consider that every drop of water you are about drink are the exact same drops that arrived on Earth around 4.5 BILLION years ago on icy comets from the far reaches of space. And how that transparent liquid is responsible for all life on this planet. And how if it weren’t for some fluke (or miracle) of universal physics, that water might not have arrived and you wouldn’t even be here to observe it. Isn’t that mind blowing?

How about looking down at your hands? Wiggle your fingers. Observe them with a sense of curiosity. How much of what you do in your life is only possible because of those weird, spindly, tentacle like tools?

Isn’t it fascinating how a caterpillar morphs into a butterfly?

How amazing is it that we, as a relatively young species, have managed to achieve and create so much? From harnessing energy and sending humans into space, to being able to jump in the car and go to the supermarket.

Your homework for today is to see how far you can lower your own amazement threshold.

Amazement, wonder and gratitude are nutrient rich supplements that nourish and inspire the soul.

I’d love to know what simple things amaze you. Please leave a comment below and help to inspire us all.

Namaste

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P.S. Please help me spread this post to more people by liking it, tweeting it and +1 it. Thanks so much :)

My special guest for today’s ‘Living With Purpose’ interview is Colin Hiles, aka The Midlife Maverick’. Prepare to be inspired by his story!

colinSomeone once said’ “It turns out that happiness is about sacrifice. You have to sacrifice what isn’t important for what is.”

Colin is a shining example of someone who has taken courageous steps to overcome fear, make difficult decisions and risk everything in honour of living with purpose. In this interview he generously shares his experience, insight and wisdom for what it takes to recognise and answer your own calling.

Here is what you will learn:

  • How Colin went from being a health product salesman with low self-esteem to being the co-creator of a multi-million pound personal development business.
  • What a year on a small spanish island with no technology and more goats than people taught him about real success and fulfilment.
  • What a film starring Clint Eastwood has to do with finding your purpose (can you guess which one it is?)
  • What you should definitely have printed on your next business card.
  • How Colin has turned his experiences into a six step process that has helped thousands of people to live a life they feel great about (and raised bucket loads of cash for charitable causes along the way)

If this conversation inspires you, please click like it, tweet, +1 and share your comments below.

Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two, stands Resistance. ~ Steven Pressfield (Author – The War of Art)

inspiration

Imagine what your life would be like if you had followed through on every inspired idea you have ever had. I don’t mean those half-baked ideas like proposing a naked office day or taking a chainsaw to the roof of your car because you can’t quite afford that convertible yet! I mean the INSPIRED ideas that you were convinced would improve your life, or the lives of others, in a significant way.

Not only that, but imagine a world in which everyone else has also put all of their inspired ideas into action too. How many more businesses, books, charities, inventions, products, services, relationships would exist in the world if everyone felt truly compelled to turn their inspiration into reality?

Whether you’ve believed it or not, you are a creative genius with a powerful ability to manifest whatever you are inspired to imagine. But, because you are like every human being that has ever lived, many of your inspired creative imaginings are likely to have been safely filed away under ‘i’ for ‘if only…’

We may be very good at coming up with great ideas for making our lives better but we are also exceptionally gifted at finding ways to stop ourselves from following through.

In order to live your best, most satisfying life you have to get good at following your inspiration.

The reason for this is simple…

The feeling of being inspired is nature’s way of re-connecting you to your inner happiness.

Inspiration is a sign post to your most authentic self.

Inspiration is your innate Wisdom giving you instructions on how to become truly alive.

Inspiration isn’t there to offer you some interesting ‘nice to haves’. It is there to illuminate the kind of life you are supposed to be living.

Deep down, in your soul, you have always known what a life of purpose and meaning should look like, even if you haven’t been aware of it consciously, and inspiration is the tool that your wisdom uses to keep nudging you in the right direction.

But if inspiration is such important force in our lives, why do we work so hard at ignoring it? Why might a writer put off writing? Why would an entrepreneur not launch that brilliant new product? What would stop someone getting involved with their favourite charity?

It is because there is a counter force to inspiration and it is called Resistance.

Overcoming resistance and following your inspiration is the ultimate key to achieving authentic happiness and success.

Resistance is the primary cause of us getting in the way of our own success. Whereas inspiration embraces change and is excited about the possibility of creating something wonderful and new, resistance wants to keep things exactly as they are right now. Resistance’s one and only function is to do whatever it takes to stop inspiration rocking the boat and disturbing what would otherwise be a safe and certain life.

The consequence, of course, is that every time resistance wins we are left with a temporary feeling of comfort that quickly shifts back to dissatisfaction.

The extent to which we get to love our lives can be summed up by what I call the FIR equation.

 F = I – R

or

FULFILLMENT = INSPIRATION – RESISTANCE (to acting on inspiration)

Some people confuse resistance with procrastination, but these are two very different things. Procrastination is simply putting off doing something that you didn’t really want to do in the first place. Resistance is finding rational reasons for not doing what you have felt inspired to do.

Resistance knows that inspiration is both powerful and persistent and so it has had to learn to be cunning in the way it operates. Here are just five of the common ways you might recognise your resistance at work:

1 – Playing Yourself Down

This is where Resistance passes the mic to your inner critic, which will say things like, “Who is going to take little old you seriously?”, “Who do you think you are?”, “Haven’t you got more important things to do with your time?”, “Stop bothering the world with your silly dreams”, “Get back in your box”…

Getting you to listening to the voice of doubt is a highly effective way for resistance to snuff out the fire of inspiration.

2 – Excuses and Rationalisations

You try to convince yourself that there are many obstacles standing in the way of getting started. For example, the day you said you would sit down and write your business plan suddenly becomes the day you simply must clean the house from top to bottom. Or, rather than keeping your weekend free to immerse yourself in a creative project you offer to run errands for your neighbour’s uncle’s friend instead.

Believing your made-up excuses and rationalisations means you get to feel justified in busying yourself doing anything other than following your inspiration.

3 – The Guilt Trip

If needs be, resistance will play the guilt card. It will tell you that it is selfish to spend time and energy focusing on yourself when those around you need attention to. Or you’ll get a feeling that the people close to you won’t approve of what you want to do and so, for the sake of maintaining harmony, you decide not to go ahead. A symptom of this is that you feel a secret resentment towards others for standing in your way. That is a very clever trick of resistance; to make it someone else’s fault.

4 – The Disaster Movie

Your nervous system cannot tell the difference between something that is real and something that you vividly imagine. This is why resistance will often have you imagine disastrous consequences of what might happen if you act on your inspiration. For example, people will judge you harshly when it all goes wrong. You’ll be humiliated. You’ll let yourself down. You’ll waste a lot of time and money. With enough emotional charge each of these thoughts can start feel like inevitable facts, so it is no wonder that resistance gains the upper hand. But remember, they are just thoughts.

5 – Self-Sabotage

When inspiration does get a decent head start and you begin to see some positive results, this is when resistance really digs it’s heals in. It looks for ways to trip you up and sabotage your current and future success. It will find a way to make you late for an important meeting. It will convince you to follow through on a bad decision, against your better judgement. It will take you off track by distracting you with non-important matters. You might even get sick, for no apparent reason, at the exact time you are about to complete a major milestone, such as giving an important presentation or attending an interview.

But why? What is the purpose of resistance?

Well, you can probably guess that resistance is routed in fear. It is a sophisticated defensive mechanism created by your ego (or your ‘Learned Self’) as a means of self-preservation.

The ego is a very fragile thing; it bruises easily. In order for you to make a change in your life, such as acting on your inspiration to create something new, you have to make an adjustment to you self-image, i.e. “I am the type of person that does this kind of thing!” But your ego likes your self-image just the way it is. It hates change. It certainly doesn’t want you to do anything that will invite criticism.

Even if you are successful your ego is in trouble because its current dimension will inevitably have to get bent out of shape.

Inspiration, on the other hand, comes from an entirely different place. Inspiration is the name we give to the emotional energy that naturally flows up from your Unconditioned Self; the BIGGER you that exists beyond your ego; The REAL you.

Inspiration is a message from your unconscious wisdom telling you to go out there and be the fullest, most positive expression of you who you REALLY are. It sees an opportunity in the world for you to act in alignment with your authentic nature and it encourages you to grab it with both hands so you can live your best life.

Resistance wants you to:

• Play small
• Go through life unnoticed
• Not rock the boat
• Fit in or blend into the background
• Never take a risk

Your inspiration urges you to:

• Play big
• Shout from the roof tops
• Challenge the norm
• Celebrate your uniqueness and stand out from the crowd
• Take risks in service of becoming truly alive

Resistance is like an overly concerned parent. It would much prefer you to play on the lower steps of life so that you don’t have very far to fall. But inspiration is the birthplace of happiness. It is love in action.

Yes, it is true that following inspiration can sometimes feel like you are falling through the air with nothing to hold on to; no parachute. But the good news is there is no ground, so you learn to gracefully dive through the unknown and enjoy every moment.

So how can you eliminate resistance?

The truth is you can’t! As long as you are alive and inspired resistance will be vying from your attention and sometimes it will win. You don’t have to be hard on yourself; it just means you are Human. But you can learn to be vigilant and more masterful at recognising resistance’s clever tricks.

Just like when you learn a magician’s secrets you are no longer fooled by the illusion, recognising your resistance AS resistance will free you up to re-connect to your inspiration and keep moving forward.

The quality of your life will ultimately be determined by your willingness to make love more important than fear, or, to put it another way, to make inspiration more important than resistance.

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HOMEWORK
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Think about something that you have been inspired to do but have not acted on.

Make a list of all the ways resistance has been attempting to stop you taking action:

• What excuses has it made you believe?
• What limiting feelings or negative self-talk have you experienced?
• What rationalisation has it given you for why now isn’t the right time to start?
• Where has it been placing the blame outside of you?

As you recognise and accept the truth about your resistance in this area, bring your attention back to what caused you to be inspired in the first place.

Notice that inspiration has its own natural energy that surges through your being. Notice that the more you allow inspiration to linger and take hold the more you feel compelled to move in that direction.

Thank your resistance for whatever positive intention it had for you and decide to move forward despite its attempts to hold you back.

Know, with all your heart, that inspiration is the elixir of your life and the more you follow it the better and more vital your life becomes.

Please come and share what you are inspired to do at the Life Happens Facebook page.
Take great care. Namaste.

 

 

In this episode Paul talks about why it is that we often resist our own success and what we can do to let inspiration be more of a guiding force in our lives. The secret is in the equation F = I – R !!!

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” – Confucius

beauty of life

The beauty of life can been found everywhere (even in the most expected places) but you have to open to seeing it. In this post I’ll share with you the source of where beauty comes from, and why it is relevant to living a happy and inspired life.

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, which is a notion that has always intrigued me greatly. We all have moments, every so often, in which we ponder deep philosophical questions, like, ‘What is the meaning of life?’ or ‘Does a falling tree make any sound if there is no one there to hear it?’ While we can go round and round in our heads never really getting to the bottom of these issues, it’s still interesting and fun just to investigate the riddle.

One of the questions that I seem to have spent a good chunk of my down time contemplating is, ‘Why is it that certain things appear beautiful to some people and not others?’ I don’t know if I’ll ever find an answer that truly satisfies my curiosity (and I’m ok with that), but there is something that has occurred to me that I think is relevant to each of us, in terms of the amount of beauty we get experience in our lives; it is this:

The extent to which we notice and appreciate true beauty in our lives is proportionate to the amount of time we spend hanging out in our own wellbeing.

Or to put it another way; when we are at peace with ourselves, the world seems to be a more beautiful place.

Or to put is yet another way; I’ve rarely heard a stressed out person describe their situation or surroundings as a delight to behold!

The Beauty of Life

When we are connected to the innate wellness that is part of the fabric of our true authentic selves, we have a tendency to see beauty everywhere. Have you ever found yourself relaxing in a quiet spot, observing your environment though a wider lens than you would ordinarily look through on an average day, just noticing the perfect flow of life? How easy it is, in that peaceful state, to pick out intricate details of your surroundings that you may never have noticed before? And have you also found that, for some reason, it brings a kind of contented smile to your face?

Beauty and wellbeing are interconnected. In the same way that ink needs a blank page in order for words to be written, beauty needs a peaceful state of mind in order for it to be truly appreciated.

When we are caught up in our thinking we are more inclined to experience the world through the filters of our preconceived judgements and beliefs, and often the beauty of life is invisible to us. It has not gone anywhere; we just don’t have the eyes to see it.

Of course, I’m not referring only to beautiful things that we perceive visually; beauty is much deeper than that. Beauty can found in everything, from sights and sounds, to concepts and feelings. For me, beauty is as much a spiritual experience as it is a sensory one, but wherever we believe it to exist, it does require us to be present and open to receiving.

When we live life from the outside-in (that is, when we let what happens on the outside of us determine how we feel in the inside) we let our egos subjectively decide what is to be beautiful to us, or not. But when we live from the inside-out, from our essential selves, beauty can be a quality that is experienced in all things; even the mundane.

Something that I find particularly beautiful is a sunset. I’m usually captivated by them. Now, I say ‘usually’ because I know that it has not always been the case. Most of the time when I look at a sunset it takes my breath away; I am filled with awe and I am humbled by the marvels of the natural world. To me, it can be like appreciating a priceless work of art that has been painted across the vast canvas of the sky. Other times though, when I’ve caught sight of a sunset, it hasn’t really done that much for me at all. It’s not that I’ve changed my mind about sunsets being beautiful; it is just that for whatever reason, in that moment, I am not at the right level of consciousness to be emotionally moved by it.

So we could say, then, that the difference that makes the difference in whether I see the beauty in a sunset or not, is my state of mind. I realise that when I am relaxed and at peace within myself, my attention will be drawn like a magnet to a fiery red sky, and my enjoyment of its beauty will be effortless. But if I am caught up in my own thinking; believing my stressful thoughts, or experiencing tension in my body, a beautiful sunset is likely to come and go, and I will hardly notice it. It will be as if, in that moment, the pictures and the sounds I am making up in my head are louder and more vivid than what is actually going on around me. But that doesn’t mean that the opportunity to experience the beauty isn’t up for grabs.

The point I’m making here is that every moment of every day we are immersed in the opportunity to connect to the beauty of our lives, and the only thing we need to do is to become quiet and still, and be open to experiencing it; be that in what we see, what we hear, what we touch, or even who we are with.

I believe that the world and the Universe (and therefore life itself) is an inherently beautiful place, regardless of whether we are open to seeing it or not. I also believe that the only thing that can ever stand in the way of our appreciating the beauty that exists all around us is our own thinking.

Regular readers will know I have written many times about the innate nature of wellbeing; that we are all born with our wellbeing already inside us and that it never goes anywhere, despite our innocent attempts to cover it up with the hypnotic power of our own thinking. Whenever our thoughts slow right down, we naturally relax and become more peaceful. That is when our wellbeing bubbles up to the surface, like a beach ball popping up and out of a swimming pool the second we let go of our efforts to keep it held down beneath the water’s surface.

So, why is it that wellbeing comes up when we calm down? Because that is the way the Universe works. Everything in the Universe, including us, is born out of the same principles of creation, and it all functions perfectly according to universal laws. The overriding quality of the Universe is that it exists in perfect harmony with itself. The only thing that is out of harmony with the rest of the Universe is the ability we have developed to think of ourselves as being separate entities. Thinking too much causes us to distance ourselves from the peace that is naturally all around us. When we let go of our thoughts, that connection is re-established in the form a sense of inner calm and wellness, which points us in the direction of noticing the beauty of life.

Ralph Waldo Emerson summed it up nicely when he said,

“Though we travel the world to find the beauty, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”

Here is what occurs to me when I think about that statement. The reason we see so much beauty in the world when we are in a peaceful state of mind is because our innate wellbeing is, itself, the true essence of beauty. So really, the beauty we experience around us is actually our own inner beauty being reflected back.

So I guess a more accurate way of saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, would be, “beauty is in the ‘I’ of the beholder.”

If wellbeing is the essence of beauty, and wellbeing is innate, then you, by definition, are innately beautiful. Accept it!
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HOMEWORK
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Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to see how much beauty you are capable of perceiving around you.

As a suggestion, why not go for a walk around your local neighbourhood and look at it as if you are seeing it for the first time.

Take the time to walk slowly and deliberately; feeling the ground beneath your feet and the air on your skin. Breathe deeply and, as best you can, clear your mind, expand your vision, and simply take in as much of the detail as that there is to notice.

Rather than seeing familiar objects with their usual labels attached to them (house, car, tree, grass, pavement, bird…), experience them all as if they were nameless and part of one perfect whole.

Pay curious attention to the interplay of shapes and form, colours and textures, sounds and sensations. Look out for beauty wherever it maybe.

I’ve no doubt that, if you’re willing, you will begin to experience beauty in the most unlikely places: perhaps in the cracks in the pavement, or in the bark of a tree, or in the sound of a passing car, or even in the colour of a piece of discarded litter.

As the beauty of everyday life reveals itself to you, don’t forget to smile, because really it is your wellbeing that you are experiencing, and it is you who are beautiful.

 

Take great care. Namaste.

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